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These are too good – embarrassingly good and ridiculously easy. It’s hamantashen, it’s pastry, it’s Danish, it’s novel and yet homey and a new tradition you have to adopt. Imagine tender pastry bottoms, a baked cheesecake filling and cherry cheesecake topping in one little package. It's refreshing and different but still manages to say Happy Purim!
This is not Cheskie’s recipe. This is mine. It is inspired by Cheskie’s Bakery in Montreal, who makes this incredible specialty to rave reviews like this one, by Jane and Michael Stern of Road Food. The bubka comes in chocolate (and I assume cinnamon but there was none the day I went down) and is a heavyweight loaf (sold by the pound) of micro thin layers of bubka dough, yielding a dense, chewy, old-fashioned bubka. This is not a puffy, bready bubka, this is more pastry-like. Check out: http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3637&RefID=3751
This is made in a huge loaf pan and then cut in two and sold in halves. If you count the layers of a Cheskie’s bubka, there are some 24 thin layers, all coiled up! If you want a Chocolate Bubka, omit the cinnamon and replace it with double the cocoa.
Like the crunch of biscotti but want a savory (salty) munch instead? These are sort of like wine-and-cheese sticks, vino et fromaggio: tender/crisp bites that are nicely eaten, out of hand, with a glass of wine or punch, while you are waiting for dinner to be ready or want a bite with a friend. This is a good gift (with a bottle of Chianti, special olive oil and a hunk of imported Parmesan) or a great cocktail hour nibble. These are humble looking but tasty enough for some gourmet food company to come calling for the recipe.
Paneforte or ‘strong bread’ is a delicious, candied confection, more than a cake. It dates back to the Crusades and is a predecessor of modern day fruitcake.It is often available in Italian food stores at Christmas but you can make one anytime. This version has a lovely hint of chocolate and a bite of extra spice – it is dense and chewy, and nicely studded with chunky whole almonds in each bite.
Chocolate cinnamon ‘schmear’, chocolate chips in the filling, and slicked up with a chocolate fondant glaze. Yum. Maple your preference? See the variation.
This is superb for a party or brunch. It is different and satisfying – not quite chocolate soufflé cake and not a cheesecake but somewhere in-between. It is as good served chilled in wedges with warm white chocolate sauce as it is slightly warm out of the oven, with caramel sauce or whipped cream or even a scoop of softened vanilla ice-cream. Use leftover chocolate cake such as Classic Dark Chocolate Layer Cake and leftover Notting Hill Brownies (without any nuts in it) or your own. If you are really time-pressed, use leftover store-bought or a mix. I give you permission for the final results of this cake are more than the sum of the parts (although homemade everything makes it cake Utopia). And if you don’t have enough cake - use more brownies; or vice versa or make up the difference with the bread chunks. It is a flexible recipe. Chocolate extract is optional but a nice touch. Nielsen Massey makes it and can advise you where to find it online or in stores.
Chocolate hamantaschen make for a nice change and they're perfect for kids
who may not care for some of the more tart fruit fillings. You will find
chocolate hazelnut paste in the peanut butter and jam section of most
supermarkets. Or use this in the Chocolate Peanut Butter Hamantashen recipe in my Complete Recipe Archives.
The subtle taste of hazelnut cream together with rich pure chocolate
You cannot believe how good a strong black tea is when coupled with chocolate notes and a sweep of orange! This is dessert in a cup. An extravagant, outrageously, decadent cuppa tea. You could vary this by using white chocolate instead of the milk chocolate. This is a great tea to bring in a cannister or pretty cello bag and a colored tie as a gift or for serving to guests with spice cake, butter cookies, or a delicate pastry.
This unique presentation of a buttery and rich bread pudding will have you thinking you are tasting cheesecake - it is that rich and good.The use of a spring-form mold (or 9-inch tart or quiche pan) dramatically changes the presentation to a dense lovely torte. The use of heavy cream makes for a thick and smooth interior. A great way to turn leftover egg bread, brioche or challah into a deluxe affair.
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